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The future is this one-click remote for everything in your life

There is a certain elegance to apps that boil down to a single button. With one click, you can get a pizza delivered to the door, for example, or quickly identify a what song is playing.

Now automation startup IFTTT wants to make it easier for nonprogrammers to create one-button apps for themselves. Today, the San Francisco-based company released a trio of new apps—Do Button, Do Note, and Do Camera—on iOS and Android.

Short for “If This Then That,” IFTTT has built a loyal following by connecting previously disparate apps, services, and gadgets using basic “recipes” that allow users to trigger certain actions. One popular recipe called Purple Rain, for example, automatically changes the color of internet-connected Philips Hue lightbulbs when it rains. Users can configure many other recipes with 166 services including Evernote, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Nest, Fitbit, and Slack. (Here’s a recipe that adds the Quartz Daily Brief email to the reading app Pocket.)

ifttt channels do button
(IFTTT)

Since IFTTT was created in 2010, more than 19 million recipes have been created, running more than 600 million times each month. About half of IFTTT channels are built and maintained by third-party developers, which has sped up the addition of new partners and freed up resources for the startup.

ifttt do button app
(IFTTT)

With the Do Button, the focus is less on recipes that create connections and more on getting stuff done. For now, the app allows users to program only three functions. For example, a single click can turn on your Hue bulbs, update your Twitter bio with your current location, and ring your phone to get out of a bad date. Do Camera and Do Notes work along similar lines, but they’re specific to images (eg. post new photos to Facebook) and text (eg. add a new row to a Google spreadsheet), respectively.

“It’s drastically simpler because you only have to choose one thing,” cofounder and CEO Linden Tibbets tells Quartz.

All the more so because of the widgets on the iOS notification and Android home screens. With them, users don’t even have to launch an app—they just have to push a virtual button.

As it launches its simplified spin-off apps, IFTTT is also looking to make its flagship app more robust, with plans to monetize additional functionality, such as the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts, says Tibbets.

It’s easy to see how the simplicity of its Do apps could translate to other screens—like, say, the forthcoming Apple Watch.

“That’s something we don’t want to talk about just yet,” Tibbets says shyly, taking care to note that he imagines IFTTT as “an extensible concept” that will go beyond desktop and mobile. But he adds: “You can imagine it’d be pretty darn straightforward.”

 

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